Monday, September 26, 2011

Mama tried. And succeeded.

Ever heard the wise words of Merle Haggard: "Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied...that leaves only me to blame 'cause Mama tried"? I love singing along to that song, but really don't relate to it. Yes, I'm probably a little more outspoken and have a little more rebel in me than my mom would've preferred, but the things she taught me stuck. Not to say my dad didn't have a say in schooling me on the ways of life lived right, but mothers just always seem to be more vocal about it. "You just wait 'til you get older. Your turn is coming..." they say.

Many times this phrase (I could hear it as soon as her mouth opened) applied to her hoping I would have kids one day and would get my payback for all the really cool stuff I taught my youngest brother, who just happens to be 15 years younger than me. Other times, it applied to life in general. For example, I remember her taking me and my other younger brother to a college football game when I was in middle school and my brother was in elementary school. A couple of drunk, middle-aged men were swearing like sailors in the row behind us. My mother, who doesn't drink and has maybe said a total of two-three curse words her entire life, had enough. She snapped, turned around and yelled, "There are children here!" I'm not sure what my brother was thinking, but as an early teenager, I was mortified and I will never forget it.

There comes a time in most women's lives when someone will say, "You remind me so much of your mother." Let me preface what I'm about to say by saying this: I love my mom. She is a beautiful person, both inside and out. However, no matter how awesome a girl's mother might be, it is always a little painful to hear someone say you are turning into her (no offense, mom...if you're reading this). I guess it's a little awkward for me, with no kids, to feel like I should have maternal instincts already. Reality set in for me this past weekend.

I drove up to my Alma mater Saturday to meet some friends to tailgate and watch the game. Being an alumna for four years moves you to the general admission seating, rather than the student section. My friends and I could've wrestled our way into a seat, but at this point in time, not having a frat boy (who has been shotgunning beers since the night before) sweat on or step on (pick your poison) you is actually preferred. Anyhow, we found some seats just to the right of the student section and only four rows up. Perfect. We hadn't made it to the second quarter before some intoxicated youngins, who were maybe old enough to legally drink started heckling the visiting team. Heckling I can deal with. Heckling while dropping the F-Bomb and all other types of profanity around families with young children, I cannot. It only took two minutes of listening to this before all 5 feet (maybe 5'3 on Saturday...I was wearing the cute wedges) was down there teaching three or four college-aged boys about a lil' something Aretha Franklin likes to call R-E-S-P-E-C-T. They piped down until after halftime, and still weren't nearly as bad when they showed up from the keg late in the third quarter.

Driving home yesterday, I couldn't help but think about how it had actually happened: I was starting to turn into my mother. What I was so embarrassed about almost 15 years ago was something I was now standing up for and actually vocalizing my thoughts (good thing my maybe future children couldn't see me!). This thought didn't sadden me, though. It actually made me proud to realize I had been raised right, and I possessed something a lot of people are lacking nowadays: class. I mean c'mon folks, what are y'all breeding out there? I'm still teetering on the decision of whether I should have kids someday, but I think I will for two reasons: 1. Because I will dress them so cute, and 2. Because their classiness will make the world a better place. I can't promise they will be intelligent or even good looking, but they will be stylish, respectful and will know how to act in public. Guess I best start working on that husband before this place falls to shambles. The world needs my kids!

Now, you may ask me, "Torie, what is classy?" I once defined my classiness to a friend: "Of course I'm classy. I wear pearl earrings when I skinny dip." Of course, this is a complete lie. I'm not an idiot. I know better than to wear expensive earrings when I go for a "dip". I think he bought it, though. Which leads me to my next major point: sometimes white lies are okay...just kidding, just kidding...(Mom, maybe you should stop reading now...).

Take away for the read: stand up for what you believe in and don't always take "You remind me of your mother (or father)" as a bad thing. Some of us were fortunate to have parents who raised us right. For the rest of you, who were not so fortunate, this is an open invitation to my support group. I can school you just as easily as I taught those young whipper snappers this weekend. Feel free to reach out...I'm here for you. And...until next time, keep it classy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taking a lunch break...Wal-Mart style.

I've recently gotten in the habit of taking "Wal-Mart lunch breaks". What does this mean? Well, have you ever witnessed someone say they were taking a lunch break at 8 a.m. (or p.m. for that matter)? I'm setting the trend for these lunch breaks, and I'm pretty sure it's already the new rave (catch could be popular before everyone else, except Wal-Mart employees...they've got us all beat!).

Let me get back on track. So, I decided to take an 8 a.m.- 9 a.m. lunch break this morning because very few things make me happier in the morning than a tasty breakfast. I've come across a restaurant in town that I'm declaring my favorite breakfast spot. I would love to share this secret dining spot with you. However, realizing this blog is public to any psycho who might want to stalk me, I'm going to look out for number uno and keep it vague. I mean c'mon...someone could surprise me during my lunch break and poison my oatmeal (or grits...I don't eat oatmeal. I try it every year because it's nutritional; hasn't found a place in my stomach's heart, yet.). If you know me personally, contact me, and I'll let you in on this fantastic restaurant!

Getting back on track...again. I decided last night that this morning would be an atypical lunch break. I set my alarm for 6 a.m. in hopes I could make a 7 a.m. breakfast and have a traditional lunch break, too (yeah, I have a healthy appetite...and I wish it would stop growing on me, literally). It wasn't until 7:05 a.m. I realized that hitting the snooze button until 7 a.m. doesn't actually get me to breakfast at 7 a.m. (I did not earn my college degree on the basis of being smart or a quick learner...wait, that sounded bad. It's also not because I was scandalous. Okay, I'm now going to jump in this hole I just dug myself).

INTERMISSION: Who's still with me, and who am I confusing beyond all belief?

I finally made it to breakf...lunch, and it was everything I had hoped: great service, friendly staff and a delicious breakfast that delivered me into the world all fat and sassy-like. It also put me into an unbelievable state of mind for the remainder of the day. I was fueled, in a good mood and ready to be productive (although the pancake with peaches kind of made me want to crawl under my desk and take a nap...and I had to take off my large, decorative belt to stop the stomach pains, which ruined my stylish outfit...not because I had an accident as a result of the pains. Geez O' Petes, here we go again...)

The point to be taken from this particular post? We all need to switch things up every now and then to keep life exciting. A routine and consistency is good, but life is for us to live and explore (that doesn't mean to cheat on your spouse...).

Also, try to create your day with some of the fun stuff first. I spend so much of my day thinking about what I get to look forward to at the end (gym, meeting friends or family for dinner, etc.) that it really distracts me from reaching my full potential at work. Not to say I wasn't happy leaving work at 5:30 tonight, but the relaxing morning I'd had really enabled me to be more satisfied for the rest of the day. Sometimes the day starts out crummy: you get a speeding ticket, you spill coffee on your shirt, your dog pees on your leg (you know, typical stuff). Those days are going to happen, but we can all do so many other out-of-the-box things that really creates a good day and mood from the start. Try eating lunch at 8 a.m. You might spill coffee on your shirt, but the pancakes with peaches (sans belt) will totally be worth it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A circus cannot exist without a freak show.

I grew up in a small, rural town. I grew up on a farm. I grew up the middle child. These are three facts, I believe, will lead you to "follow me" (in the most non-cultish way imaginable, of course...I've never even mixed Kool-Aid!) and my Torie Stories. What influence would any of these three factors have on the likelihood that you will enjoy reading my thoughts? One word answers it all: boredom.

No, no, no...I'm not saying you will only read Tor's Circus when you're bored (or maybe you will). I'm saying that God crafted my life early on (small town, farm, middle child), so that I would develop a wild imagination, keeping me entertained and, in return, entertaining others.

I can't recall at what point I took joy in observing other people and how they react in different social environments and situations, but it has become one of my favorite past times. A hobby such as people watching is a deadly combination when paired with an imagination like my own. One thought leads to another, and by the time it's all said and done, I've developed theories that anyone can use practically in his or her own life. Okay, they're not always practical. However, if you have a sense of humor similar to mine, they will make you giggle (that's right men, you will giggle).

Why "Tor's Circus"? There are so many acts going on in my head, I can't even keep up with...or focus on one act at a time. There is no ringleader under this Big Top, so expect some crazy catastrophes in written form. So ladies, gents and children of all ages: sit back, grab a popcorn and a beer, and enjoy the freak show going on in my head!